When Michele Serro, an opera singer with a background in design, had a lackluster experience purchasing her first apartment in New York five years ago, her life mission became clear: Make home-buying human.
“I didn’t feel like there were a lot of resources for first-time home buyers,” Serro said. So she entrenched herself in all things real estate, and harnessed her design skills to create a clean, well-organized online portal that serves up information in the form of digestible articles, easy-to-follow lists, and fascinating infographics.
Whether it’s explaining common mortgage types, offering money-saving tips, or guiding visitors with an all-encompassing home-buying checklist, Doorsteps.com gives users free, step-by-step educational tools that are actually fun to read.
But what really sets Doorsteps apart from other real estate Web sites is that it makes the real estate agent the consumer’s guide.
Doorsteps works like this: The real estate pro signs up and invites an unlimited number of buyers to register at the site. It’s $25/month for the agent and free for the client. As the site walks its users through the home-buying process, member agents can see the same information their clients see and interact with them, answering their questions at each step along the way. It’s perfect for those people you meet who are interested in buying someday but aren’t quite prepared to start looking at houses.
“We designed this as an agent tool from the buyer’s point of view,” Serro explained. “Our plan is to create the best possible experience for buyers, answer all of their questions, and make dynamic content that also benefits agents.” Continue reading »
“Change doesn’t happen without conflict,” said Brad Inman as he kicked off Day 2 of Real Estate Connect. And it was on this day that the continuing evolution of mobile technology and social media — and its infusion into every day business — hit home for many an attendee.
Tom Gonser of DocuSign shared the massive growth numbers of his e-signature platform, now with over 40 million identities saving people 150 million work hours and 2 billion days of turnaround time. Moreover, their mobile signature growth is staggering. “We expect to break the 50 percent threshold (of Docusign contracts signed on mobile platforms) by the end of 2013, many being international,” said Gonser. Mobile has not only led to increased use, it’s now a global standard, with over 188 countries being represented in its user-base.
Gonser continued the “disruption” narrative of the conference as well. “Zero infrastructure companies…” like the startups shown-off during Connect, “…are the new normal.”
Guy Wolcott epitomized the zero-infrastructure ideology while showcasing how he pivoted from a traditional brokerage to tech startup darling. His app, Homesnap, allows a smartphone user to pull all public information available on a home through geolocation by simply taking a picture of it, is one of the most popular real estate apps available for iPhone.
“I wanted a fun, easy to use ‘Shazam for homes,’” he put it, all so that consumers can “do what they want, when and where they want to do it.”
The mobile technology and social media “morphing of industry,” as Brad put it, was then highlighted in Tamara Mendelsohn’s “Building and Measuring the Social World” presentation.
Mendelsohn, the VP of marketing for the event management website Eventbrite, shared her company’s social business blue print; stating that “social media is no longer a strategy, it’s how you do business.” By “knowing your authentic self, humanizing your community, think about your product as an experience, and having fun with your community and brand,” one can now measure the value of things like a “share” on Facebook, to the tune of $4.15 for each Eventbrite event share on social media. By allowing others to speak for your brand and harnessing your message within their own social sphere framework, then sourcing it for your marketing, one can grow their brand’s reach. Bringing “digital communities closer together” as she put it, is something every real estate practitioner and broker should take note of.
Veering back to technology, Continue reading »
By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
From beginners to pros, WordPress Camp had something to offer every blogger at the 2010 REALTORS® Conference & Expo Monday. Technology and marketing experts presented dual-track sessions for novice bloggers and advanced WordPress users.
Blogging has proven to be a valuable tool for real estate professionals to demonstrate industry and community knowledge, as well as express identity and brand. The sessions provided tips to help leverage the medium and connect with potential clients.
“WordPress is a perfect forum for real estate Web sites,” said presenter and co-WordPress Camp organizer Dustin Luther with 4realz. “There’s a lot of talk right now about marketing via social media. But we really wanted to focus on creating a great Web site.”
Presenter Steve Zehngut, from Zeek Interactive, honed in on integrating real estate tools on a WordPress blog.
When choosing a theme – or the overall design of your WordPress Web site – Zehngut recommended Woo Themes, which provides customizable Web designs for $70 to $200.
Zehngut also listed a few must-have plugins for a real estate WordPress site: Continue reading »